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Patents, Compulsory Licences and Access to Medicines: Some Recent Experiences (No. 10)

USD 6.00 Publisher: TWN
ISBN: 978-983-2729-19-8
Year: 2007
No. of pages: 28
Size of book: 16.5cm x 24cm
Author: Martin Khor
About the Book

High prices of patent-protected medicines have become a major public health concern in developing countries, especially since the coming into force of the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s TRIPS Agreement, which sets stringent patent norms for WTO member states. Nevertheless, despite providing for the patenting of medicines, the TRIPS Agreement does allow certain exceptions and flexibilities which are in line with the public interest.

This paper examines the TRIPS-permitted flexibilities – compulsory licensing, government use and parallel importation – which developing countries can make use of to override drug patents and make available more affordable medicines.

Recent examples (from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Zimbabwe and Ghana) are provided of individual developing countries’ use of compulsory licences or government-use orders or other flexibilities to produce and import cheaper generic versions of patented drugs.

The author also cautions, however, that a new wave of bilateral “free trade agreements” (FTAs) between developed and developing countries effectively erode these flexibilities by imposing even stricter patent standards than those in the TRIPS Agreement. If left unchecked, the trend towards such “TRIPS-plus” FTAs threatens to undermine access to essential medicines by poor patients throughout the developing world.

About the Author

MARTIN KHOR is the Director of the Third World Network. An economist trained in Cambridge University, he is the author of several books and articles on trade, development and environment issues.

  1. Background

  2. National Public Health Measures that are TRIPS-Consistent 
    Importing the Drug
    Local Manufacture
    Export, Including to Countries with Inadequate Manufacturing Capacity

  3. Use of TRIPS Flexibilities: Recent Experiences

  4. Implications of Bilateral FTAs on Implementation of TRIPS Flexibilities Regarding Public Health
    Increasing Awareness of IPR Problems in Multilateral Context
    Dangers of Bilateral FTAs in Eroding TRIPS Flexibilities
    Thai Human Rights Commission Report


Some Recent Cases of Compulsory Licensing for AIDS Drugs


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This product was added to our catalog on Monday 16 January, 2012.

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